Jack in the Box Breakfast: The High/Low Experiment

It's just ... staring at me.
It's just ... staring at me.
Photos by Christina Uticone

I'm not sure how I could live less than a mile from a Jack in the Box for almost four years and not know they serve breakfast 24 hours a day. HELLO! Not only do I love breakfast, I love breakfast for dinner or as a late-night snack. When I realized I could have been eating breakfast sandwiches at 2 a.m. any old time I wanted, I was pretty devastated, and moved to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

Of course, I can barely stay up past midnight, so I put my neighborhood Jack in the Box to the test at noon. I'm a party animal like that.

Unable to decide between the sensible Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal (204 calories, 2 grams fat, 4 grams each protein and fiber) and the insane-sounding Big Waffle Stack sandwich (two fried eggs, crispy bacon, sausage, ham, and American cheese between two lightly sweetened maple waffles), I did what anyone would do -- I ordered them both.

The Big Waffle Stack sounds terrifying, so the nutrition stats shouldn't surprise you: 655 calories, 46 grams fat, 1717 mg sodium -- the usual stuff, right? At least, if you eat the sandwich early, you've got all day to burn it off. Breakfast math!

BORING. And I happen to love oatmeal.
BORING. And I happen to love oatmeal.

You probably think that by pitting a bowl of oatmeal against the Big Waffle Stack, I set the Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal up for failure. You're a little bit right, and a little bit wrong. You see, the oatmeal is independently bad; it would have scored poorly in my book regardless of competition. Slimy, mushy oatmeal is not enhanced by the add-your-own crumble or dried blueberries that come on the side. The crumble adds crunch of indeterminate origin -- sugar? sweetened bread crumbs? both? -- and the dried blueberries are more like chewy gummy candies than dried fruit. McDonald's has oatmeal that is far better than the JITB version.

Speaking of McDonald's, it's hard not to make the McGriddle comparison here. Instead of pancakes, JITB uses waffles in place of a bun or muffin and then ups the ante with lots of egg, bacon and sausage and ham. I must have eaten a hundred McGriddles my senior year of high school. I miss that metabolism.

I mean, WTF. Seriously.
I mean, WTF. Seriously.

The Big Waffle Stack has it all: oozing cheese, three types of breakfast meats (why choose?!), and all of the artificial, maple-infused flavor one could hope for. I turned down the offer of additional maple syrup for my sandwich, and I'm glad I did because honestly there is enough in the sandwich all on its own -- adding syrup would, I think, upset the salty-sweet balance that makes the sandwich work in the first place. Yeah, I said it -- it works.

This isn't my usual thing -- for breakfast or any meal. But something about the way the ham, sausage and bacon wrestle with the sweet waffle "bun" had me taking one bite after another. And even though I'm not entirely crazy about fast-food egg product, there was nothing overtly offensive about it -- we can probably attribute that to the melting cheese, and the sheer number of other flavors and textures, but the end result is the same. The Big Waffle Stack is an offensive but delicious calorie bomb that you should add to your guilty-pleasure fast-food lineup.

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